Greek Mythology Vocabulary Derived from Earth and Lesser Gods



noun 1. Classical Mythology . the shield or breastplate of Zeus or Athena, bearing at its center the head of the Gorgon. 2. protection; support: under the imperial aegis. 3. sponsorship; auspices: a debate under the aegis of the League of Women Voters.


am·bro·sial (from ambrosia, food of the gods)

adjective 1. exceptionally pleasing to taste or smell; especially delicious or fragrant. 2. worthy of the gods; divine.


at·ro·phy  from ATROPOS, the Fate who cut man’s thread of life.

Pathology . a wasting away of the body or of an organ or part, as from defective nutrition or nerve damage.

2. degeneration, decline, or decrease, as from disuse: He argued that there was a progressive atrophy of freedom and independence of thought.


au·ro·ral (from Aurora, dawn)


1. of or like the dawn.

2. pertaining to the aurora borealis or aurora australis.


bac·cha·nal (from Bacchus, god of wine)

–noun 1. a follower of Bacchus. 2. a drunken reveler. 3. an occasion of drunken revelry; orgy; bacchanalia.


ce·re·al (Frome Ceres AKA Demeter, goddess of the grain)

–noun 1. any plant of the grass family yielding an edible grain, as wheat, rye, oats, rice, or corn. 2. the grain itself. 3. some edible preparation of it, especially a breakfast food.


chi·mer·i·cal (from Chimaera, moster slain by Bellerophon)adjective 1. unreal; imaginary; visionary: a chimerical terrestrial paradise. 2. wildly fanciful; highly unrealistic: a chimerical plan.


Di·o·ny·sian (from Dionysus) 1. of, pertaining to, or honoring Dionysus or Bacchus. 2. recklessly uninhibited; unrestrained; undisciplined; frenzied; orgiastic.



e·rot·ic (from Eros, Aphrodite’s handsome son, god of love)

1. arousing or satisfying sexual desire: an erotic dance.

2. of, pertaining to, or treating of sexual love; amatory: an erotic novel.

3. subject to or marked by strong sexual desire.


he·li·o·trope (from Helio, sun god)


1. any hairy plant belonging to the genus Heliotropium, of the borage family, as H. arborescens, cultivated for its small, fragrant purple flowers.

2. any of various other plants, as the valerian or the winter heliotrope. 3. any plant that turns toward the sun. 4. a light tint of purple; reddish lavender. 5. Surveying . an arrangement of mirrors for reflecting sunlight from a distant point to an observation station.


hy·men (from Hymen, god of the Wedding Feast)

–noun Anatomy . a fold of mucous membrane partly closing the external orifice of the vagina in a virgin.


i·ris (from Iris, goddess of the rainbow)

–noun 1. Anatomy . the contractile, circular diaphragm forming the colored portion of the eye and containing a circular opening, the pupil, in its center.

2. Botany . any plant of the genus Iris,  having showy flowers and sword-shaped leaves. Compare iris family. 3. a flower of this plant. 4. ( initial capital letter ) Classical Mythology . a messenger of the gods, regarded as the goddess of the rainbow. 5. a rainbow. 6. any appearance resembling a rainbow. 7. Movies, Television . an iris-in or iris-out. 8. Optics, Photography . iris diaphragm.


ir·i·des·cent (from Iris, goddess of the rainbow)

–adjective 1. displaying a play of lustrous colors like those of the rainbow.

–noun 2. an iridescent cloth, material, or other substance: new fall dresses of imported iridescents.


jo·vi·al (from Jove, Jupiter)


1. endowed with or characterized by a hearty, joyous humor or a spirit of good-fellowship: a wonderfully jovial host. 2. ( initial capital letter ) of or pertaining to the god Jove, or Jupiter.


mar·tial (from Mars, god of war)


1. inclined or disposed to war; warlike: The ancient Romans were a martial people. 2.

of, suitable for, or associated with war or the armed forces: martial music. 3. characteristic of or befitting a warrior: a martial stride.


mer·cu·ri·al (from Mercury, messenger god)


1. changeable; volatile; fickle; flighty; erratic: a mercurial nature. 2. animated; lively; sprightly; quick-witted. 3. pertaining to, containing, or caused by the metal mercury. 4. ( initial capital letter ) of or pertaining to the god Mercury.


mne·mon·ic (from Mnemosne, mother of muses)


1. assisting or intended to assist the memory. 2. pertaining to mnemonics or to memory.

noun 3. something intended to assist the memory, as a verse or formula. 4. Computers. a programming code that is easy to remember, as STO for “store.”


mu·se·um (from the Nine Muses, inspiration)

–noun a building or place where works of art, scientific specimens, or other objects of permanent value are kept and displayed.


nym·pho·ma·ni·a (from nymphs, beautiful maidens in nature)

–noun Pathology . abnormally excessive and uncontrollable sexual desire in women.

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Panic (From Pan, satyr)

noun, adjective, verb, pan·icked, pan·ick·ing.


1. a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals. 2. an instance, outbreak, or period of such fear. 3. Finance. a sudden widespread fear concerning financial affairs leading to credit contraction and widespread sale of securities at depressed prices in an effort to acquire cash. 4. Slang. someone or something that is considered hilariously funny: The comedian was an absolute panic.


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sat·ire (from satyrs, merrymaking half man half goat creatures)

  1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc. 2. a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule. 3. a literary genre comprising such compositions.


terp·si·cho·re·an (from Terpsichore, muse of dance)


1. pertaining to dancing. 2. ( initial capital letter ) of or pertaining to Terpsichore.

noun 3. a dancer.


ti·tan·ic (from Titans)


1. ( initial capital letter ) of, pertaining to, or characteristic of the Titans. 2. Also, titan. of enormous size, strength, power, etc.; gigantic.


vol·ca·no (from Vulcan, forger god)

noun, plural vol·ca·noes, vol·ca·nos.

1. a vent in the earth's crust through which lava, steam, ashes, etc., are expelled, either continuously or at irregular intervals. 2. a mountain or hill, usually having a cuplike crater at the summit, formed around such a vent from the ash and lava expelled through it.